(NEW ORLEANS) — In Indianapolis, Indiana, this week, all 32 NFL teams came together to witness some of the best college football players show off their skills at the NFL Scouting Combine. In the midst of all this, teams have had time to talk about possible transactions involving players and draft picks (including trades). With this being said, New Orleans Saints receiver Brandin Cooks is the subject of most conversations the Saints are having with other teams.
On Saturday, it was reported that the Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots, made a less-than-impressive offer to the Saints for the vertical threat who put up back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons. The deal consisted of the 32nd overall pick in this year’s draft. The Saints would not only give up Cooks, but also a late round selection, which caused the Saints to back out of negotiations. However, according to multiple reports, the Patriots and Saints have come very close to a deal involving star cornerback Malcolm Butler for Cooks. This claim is supported as the Saints signed Ted Ginn, Jr., a receiver that is very similar to Cooks in the way he plays. Also, the Patriots signed former Buffalo Bills star cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a deal, probably spelling the end of the Butler era in New England. Expect this deal to come by the end of the day on March 9.
The Saints have not only been involved with the Patriots in trade talks, but also the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are in desperate need of receiver help. During training camp before the 2016 season, the Titans traded away promising wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to the Philadelphia Eagles. This has put the Titans in need of a play-maker to put in young quarterback Marcus Mariota’s offense. Something the Saints would want from the Titans is the 5th overall selection in this year’s draft. The Titans have not been willing to give up the 5th pick, so this trade deal might not work out. The Titans will have to settle for someone under the radar in this year’s free-agency crop.
Another reported suitor is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles will be trying to make a push to sign former Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery when the free agency period opens Thursday, March 9, at 4 p.m. EST. The Eagles are a better suitor for more experienced immediate help, as they have loads of young, promising talent on the defensive side of the ball. A first round pick, however, is the asking price for Cooks, and the Eagles are currently in the possession of the 14th overall pick. This could be a very good addition to the Saints, as they are in need of a second pick in the First Round of this year’s draft. However, as the day progresses, the Eagles have dissipated from contention for the Cooks sweepstakes.
Cooks is a very important detail in the Saints offense. Sometimes called Drew Brees’ primary receiver, he isn’t completely necessary for this offense to flourish. That said, the Saints are in bigger need of some defensive help. Head Coach Sean Payton has said publicly that they will do whatever it takes to make this defense better.